Commentary

Harrison twins proving critics wrong

Despite being icons in the HS hoops world, the Harrisons are just ordinary teens

Originally Published: June 8, 2012
By Damon Sayles | RecruitingNation

DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- There are certain phrases that tend to follow Aaron and Andrew Harrison on a regular basis -- whether or not they agree with them.

Court assassins. Cocky kids. Basketball's most wanted. Rock stars. Comments pretty much ran the gamut.

What's rarely said about the five-star twin guards from Travis High School (Richmond, Texas) is that underneath that thick skin of basketball consistency -- the nucleus that's attracted numerous college coaches nationwide -- is a legitimate sense of normalcy. Because basketball fans usually watch the Harrisons in game mode, many don't get to see them away from the court.

"People have to understand that when we're playing, we take it seriously," Aaron said. "But that's not us all the time."

[+] EnlargeAndrew Harrison
Kelly Kline/Getty ImagesKentucky recruit Andrew Harrison is the best scoring point guard in the Class of 2013.

"I don't really know how to change on the court. I don't really want to change on the court," Andrew added. "Off the court, we're just relaxed, nice kids."

The average fan who watches the 6-foot-5 twins -- Aaron being a minute older than Andrew -- doesn't get to see their humanitarian efforts. While resting for a game in last month's Under Armour Are You From Here? Classic, the Harrisons sacrificed relaxation time in their hotel lobby to assist an elderly woman load multiple bags into her car.

The same day, following a tournament-game victory, the twins were signing autographs, taking pictures and answering questions from anyone who approached them. The narcissistic personas given to them by critics did not exist.

"Some people take us as arrogant because of how we play on the court," Andrew said. "We're not trying to do anything to anybody. It's different when we're on the court. When it's time to play, we play to win."

Andrew is the point guard of the two. Ranked No. 3 overall and the No. 1 point guard in the country, he is considered one of the nation's premier facilitators. He averaged roughly 17 points and eight assists during the 2011-12 season for Travis and is even more of a factor as the floor general for the highly-respected Houston Defenders AAU team.

Andrew's No. 1 target is Aaron, the No. 8 player overall and the No. 2 shooting guard in the country. A versatile scorer, Aaron averaged roughly 21 points and six rebounds for Travis and showed how dangerous he could be at the Under Armour event, dropping 42 points in the Defenders' semifinal game -- 35 in the second half -- against Minnesota-based Net Gain Sports.

In addition to being the twins' father, Aaron Harrison Sr. is the head coach of the Defenders. Oftentimes, he doesn't have to say much as a coach because he knows his sons have the basketball IQ to effectively run the team.

Harrison Sr. doesn't see the same things in his sons that much of the public sees. At home or around friends, they don't get the rock-star treatment.

"To me, they're only kids; they're my kids," Harrison Sr. said. "They are not what a lot of people think basketball players are. If you look at their Twitter accounts, they're always with their buddies away from basketball. They are two kids who just go about their lives. But when it's time to play, that's a totally different story."

Ask Aaron about Andrew, and he'll pitch the ultimate compliment. "Overall, he's the best player in the country to me," Aaron said.

Switch the question, and Andrew will say the same about Aaron. They are best friends on and off the court.

More importantly from a recruiting perspective, they are a package deal. The twins have gone on record to say that they will be college teammates in 2013, and their final four includes Maryland, Kentucky, Villanova and Baylor.

"With Kentucky," Andrew said, "my goal is to be an NBA basketball player. If you look at the past few years, that's where you go if you want to be an NBA basketball player. Coach [Scott] Drew from Baylor is great, and they're doing a lot of winning. They've been recruiting us since we were really young, like seventh or eighth grade."

Aaron added: "I like Villanova's guard play. They use their guards real well. Plus, it's a small school with a great education. As for Maryland, it's in the ACC, and it's where my dad's from. He really hasn't had to push us to go there. Plus, Coach [Mark] Turgeon is a good coach."

The twins said they plan on making a decision by the end of the summer. The winning school will have a great family atmosphere, a winning basketball tradition and a quality academic background.

Most importantly, that school will need to be a place where they feel comfortable -- on and off the basketball court. After all, life is more than just basketball to them.

Contrary to what many may believe.

"It's funny, because some people think we eat different diets or are on some crazy kind of medication, stuff like that," Aaron said. "We just love the game of basketball. We take it very seriously."

"We hang out. We watch movies. We laugh and joke with our friends," Andrew added. "People think we're always in basketball mode. We're just ordinary kids."